FOREST LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — An SUV hit and killed a high school student Monday as she was leaving summer school. The Jeep Grand Cherokee struck 18-year-old Catherine Loahr near Forest Lake High School as she crossed Highway 97 at Goodview Avenue.
Adopted from Russia as a child, Catherine often went by the name “Katya.” Loahr’s mother, Lora Ukaegbu, is planning her daughter’s funeral for Friday afternoon.
“I always told her she was the most courageous person I have ever met and I meant it every time,” Ukaegbu said.
Fueled by love, it seemed Loahr only got stronger with every setback.
“We were mom and daughter but we were really close and we shared everything,” Ukaegbu said.
Loahr took after her band teacher mother from the beginning, pouring herself into music and band activities as St. Francis High School.
Recently, the family moved to Forest Lake.
“She smiles bright and she is talented and fun,” Ukaegbu said.
Her mother said Loahr was devastated when a concussion from a car accident kept her out of school for some time.
She could not graduate with her friends at St. Francis High School on time, so she was making up her final two credits at Forest Lake High School this summer. She started summer school just last week, the same week she turned 18.
“That was hard for her but she is strong and took it like a trooper,” Ukaegbu said.
Forest Lake schools had counselors on hand for students on Tuesday after many witnessed the crash.
Loahr was planning to pursue classes to be a veterinary technician once she finished her high school credits.
“I will never make sense of this,” Ukaegbu said. “If people were lucky enough to love her, we all have something to miss and something to cherish in our hearts.”
The State Patrol is still investigating the crash. The intersection is right next to a junior and high school.
The city says it is looking into any changes that can or should be made. There is no crosswalk on the side where Loahr was crossing because it does not lead directly to any type of walking path.